Bacterial Cell Composition

Composition of a Bacterial Cell

There are two formulas used to describe a bacterial cell. Both are discussed below.

The most widely used empirical formula for the organic fraction of bacteria cells is shown below. About 53 percent by weight of the organic fraction is carbon.

A more complete formula for the composition of a bacteria cell is:

The table (Table 7.4) shown below has been copied from Metcalf & Eddy’s Wastewater Engineering textbook. You can find the exact reference at the bottom of the table. If you click on the graphic itself you will open up a PDF version of the table useful for printing. This table from Metcalf & Eddy gives you a good idea of the chemical composition of a bacterial cell.

The graphic below provides another way to look at the composition of a bacterium. I took this information and reproduced in the format shown from the May 2009 issue of a document I found online called “The Wastewater Insight” from Environmental Leverage Inc. If you click on the graphic itself you will open up a PDF the document. I recommend you take a look at it.

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